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Conversations from the Mat

Mesothelioma and Yoga by Terri Baker

Yogawoman - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Yoga is an ancient mind-body exercise that can have transformative powers. It can calm the mind and reduce pain and anxiety, and this is why it has become such a positive alternative therapy for those suffering from cancer. There have been a number of studies that have shown yoga’s benefits.  In one example, a group of patients that did yoga exercises reported having fewer negative symptoms than a group that did not, and those patients continued to reap the positive rewards three months later. In another study, 63 percent of patients who had taken up yoga felt that it had a positive impact.

Though yoga can be helpful for people suffering from all types of cancer, it can be of particular benefit to those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and always fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. In most cases this exposure has occurred decades before, usually in the patient’s work setting. Mesothelioma can form in either the chest cavity or the abdominal cavity. The asbestos fibers become embedded in the cells of the protective lining of organs located in those two areas, and tumors eventually grow. The tumors can cause extreme discomfort, and the various courses of treatment can also cause pain and fatigue. Yoga offers a method of treating these symptoms and effects naturally, as well as of clearing the mind and helping with the anxiety that this illness can cause.

 Yoga is one of several therapies that mesothelioma patients can pursue that offers what is known as palliative treatment. Palliative treatments are those that offer relief rather than a cure. In the case of mesothelioma, yoga can provide great help with pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Yoga is also well known for its ability to offset some of the debilitating effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and constipation. Of particular help for those with mesothelioma are the various poses that open the chest. Because mesothelioma causes a number of cardiopulmonary stress symptoms, including shortness of breath and localized pain, these exercises that release tension in the shoulders and upper back can offer tremendous comfort.


Yoga, with its breathing techniques and gentle stretches, offers mesothelioma patients a completely portable form of exercise that can give them a sense of well- being. It can be shared with family members and friends who are not sick, offering an opportunity to engage in an activity together. Yoga provides mesothelioma patients valuable tools with which to counter the various stresses of their illness.


About the Author:

Terri Baker writes articles related to mesothelioma in order to spread awareness of this deadly disease. Please visit for more information.

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